What do you do when your dreams are shattered by the actions of others, and it is beyond your power to stop them in their course? This is the situation facing Pieter van Scheer, a young up-and-coming lawyer in Delft, a major city of the Netherlands. His career is on track and his reputation for straight-up representation is growing. He is supremely confident in his ability to provide a comfortable life for his family, and the future looks set and prosperous.
Until the actions of a megalomaniac, with dreams of conquering Europe and being the emperor of the known world, undermine the stability of whole nations and wreck the carefully nurtured dreams of ordinary people like Pieter. Millions die, millions are displaced, and people like Pieter must rethink their futures, if they are to escape the machinations of the secret police.
Writing Progress to 90,000 words
This is the Netherlands of 1811, when Napoleon Buonaparte’s occupation of the Netherlands and Spain, and his enforcement of a ‘Continental System’ banning all trade with Great Britain, contributed directly to the collapse of its trading economy. To add to the spiralling destitution of the citizens of occupied nations, Buonaparte adds the deadly ballot for national service. When he required more soldiers for his Grande Armee, he simply drafted citizens from these nations – young men were selected by ballot and sent into battle against the Russian army in the middle of a vicious Russian winter!
Pieter must face the reality of his shattered dreams when he is drafted, and has tough decisions to make about the future wellbeing of his family. They flee their home and country hoping for a better, safer life elsewhere, hounded by French secret police. After enduring many reversals of fortune, they finally find themselves, unexpectedly, settling in the Cape Colony after the intervention of a powerful new friend.
Happily settled in beautiful Stellenbosch, with a secure job and property investments, it seems to Pieter that he can finally relax about the future of his family. But then it becomes clear to him that his pursuit of his dreams has had unexpected effects on his children, who now have dreams of their own. Political events conspire to fracture the family, with various members moving in different directions, and Pieter is devastated that it seems to all have been for nothing.
Until he finally realises that chasing your dreams leads to outcomes that are not negative, just unexpected, and are to be embraced with joy.
“The Dream Chasers” is a historical novel set in 19th Century South Africa, a crucial time in a country with a fascinating history. It is the first in the Crucible of Nations series, in which the titanic rise and fall of nations will set the stage for three hundred years of conflict, greed and glory. It was the dreams of people – ordinary men and women, slaves, politicians, tyrants, imperialists – that would shape the future of the region.
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